Still, it’s striking the degree to which the events in Egypt over the last month have conformed to the predictions implicit in Thyne’s data. The post-coup government in Egypt did not have to endure much real pressure from the international community, and in fact got some positive support in the form of big loans from Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, not to mention U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry publicly stating that the military government was “restoring democracy.” One could certainly argue that refusing to call the coup a coup was a form of implicit support, deliberate or not. And then, what do you know, the post-coup government appears to be moving toward autocracy rather than democracy.
The U.S. decision on whether or not to call what happened in Egypt a “coup” was far from the only factor determining how the Egyptian military would behave over the past month. In fact, it probably wasn’t even in the top 10 most important factors; the generals care a lot more about what’s happening domestically. Still, it is a factor, and you have to wonder how things might have played out differently had the U.S. decided to use the “do we call it a coup” decision to assert some outward pressure on the post-coup government. But, hey, at last they cancelled Bright Star.